13 ways to create unforgettable multimedia with Adobe Spark
Creating great images, pages and video can spark students’ interest in learning. Adobe Spark makes that possible for free. (Public domain image via Pixabay.com)
Multimedia is one way that technology is impacting what we do in the classroom. Just look back 10 years.
To create impressive video, audio and images in the past, it used to take expensive equipment. Video mixers. Audio boards. Design software.
Now we have high-resolution (or high-definition) creation tools right in our pockets. Smart phones, tablets and computers can do what the high-cost equipment used to do. (And often, it can do better!)
Adobe Spark is one of those tools. It lets students smash together various forms of media into creations that are so cool, they’ll want to show their friends and family. It’s all free, including the website and its iPad/iPhone apps (Post / Page / Video). If you’ve used Adobe Slate or Voice before, Spark will be very familiar. Adobe rebranded those tools with its former Post app under the Spark heading.
What you can create
With Adobe Spark (a free service), students can create:
Posts: These single images can combine text and images. They’re saved as picture files.
Pages: These are long, flowing, top-to-bottom pages that you scroll through. They can include images, videos and text.
Videos: These videos can be picture slide shows or a combination of images and videos. They can include voice narration and/or music.
About the three formats
Create videos with this editor in Adobe Spark. Change the theme, add music and create slides. Adobe Spark even suggests what your students might put in their slides. (Screenshot from Adobe Spark website)
Posts: When you create a post, Spark asks you, “What do you want to say?” Type the main idea or quote and it’s added to your post. Spark offers several sizes for your post, including:
Sizes for various social media uses (posts, headers and thumbnails for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and more)
Tall informational graphics
To find images for your posts, Spark connects you to a search of Creative Commons licensed images. It lets you customize your text with fonts, shapes, alignment and more. When you’re done, you can download your image or share it with a link.
Pages: Create a long, flowing webpage with lots of relevant content. Add a title and subtitle to the top, and then Spark lets you add lots of content, including:
Glideshows (like slide shows that zoom in on the image while you scroll)
When complete, they can be shared with others with a clickable link.
Students can create videos of daily announcements that teachers can play in the classroom. (Screenshot from Adobe Spark website)
Videos: I love that Spark asks you what kind of video you want to create and then gives you suggestions on how to fill the slides of your video. For example, when I chose “lesson” from its video types, it created six slides for me with these suggestions:
Overview: What will you teach, and why is it interesting or relevant? How will people use what they learn?
Concept: Describe the concept you’re teaching.
Example: Give an example that your audience can relate to.
Explanation: Connect your example to the idea and explain how it applies.
You try it: Share a scenario or example problem to let your audience apply what they’ve learned.
Summary: Summarize the key takeaway for your audience to remember.
When students create videos, sometimes they struggle to create the right framework. Adobe Spark suggests frameworks for them. Plus, it lets them add an attractive theme to their slides, music and several layout options.
Uses in class
Use posts to create quote cards to show students. (Screenshot from Adobe Spark website)
After playing with Spark for a while, I can see numerous uses in the classroom, including:
Announcement: Use a video to tell about an upcoming event for the school (a play, a sporting event, an academic competition) or for your class (a party, a project, an important assignment).
Trailers: Create a short video to promote interest in a book, a historical event or a person/character.
Opening hook: Make a video that sparks students’ interest in a topic to be covered that day (or the next day … or, to really boost anticipation, next week!).
Quotes: They’re easy to repeat, prompt great discussion and are sticky to the brain. Share quote cards on a class website/learning management system, on social media or printed out in the classroom.
Newsletter: Create a video newsletter (or have students create one!) to send home to parents. Include images and videos to keep parents, families or even the community at large up to speed.
Announcements: Change up the daily announcements with an Adobe Spark video. Create graphics using Adobe Spark posts. Include photos and pertinent information. Share it with teachers (who can play them for their classes).
Instead of PowerPoint presentations, students can display information, images and videos in a shareable page. (Screenshot from Adobe Spark website)
Field trip recap: Gather a bunch of photos and videos from a field trip. Then pull them all together in a video or page to share with students and families.
Public service announcements: Health, physical education and science lend themselves to these messages for the greater good, but they could potentially be used in any classroom. Create a video, post or page to give the public info they need to know.
Facts and figures: Share a quick, bite-sized, interesting tidbit with students with a post. They’re visual and aren’t overwhelming, so they’re likely to be remembered.
Presentations: The typical PowerPoint presentation can be jazzed up with a page. Use images and text to present information in a very visually appealing way.
Story telling: Have students create their own stories or retell the ones from class (maybe with an interesting twist to create a different outcome!). They can do this with a video, telling the story in their own voice, or a page, telling the story in printed text.
Lab reports: Pages are made for this. Take pictures and videos of your science lab. Add them to a page. Use text to explain what’s going on.
Travel journals: Take an imaginary trip to a far-off place. In a page, use pictures and images to illustrate and give information with text.
Info to know
Adobe created Spark with students in mind, at all levels (from kindergarten on up).
Spark requires an Adobe login, and children under 13 can’t create them. A teacher or parent can, and the student can use it under their supervision.
Student identification can be suppressed when students share their work, protecting their privacy but still letting them open their work up to others.
The iOS apps are rated 12+, but Adobe says the apps are safe for younger students. They just didn’t want younger ones to download the apps on their own.